Telling our stories is one of the most patriotic ways we as spouses and family members can support our service members.
My spouse is active duty Air Force, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve been on edge all month. Ever since our military activity started ramping up earlier this month – it’s a scary time to have a loved one in the armed services!
I know I’m not the only one feeling this way. Families across the branches are in a place of uncertainty and anxiety. Will my service member deploy? How will this deployment look different from previous ones? When will they come back?
To an extent, we’re used to this. After being at war for 19 years, we know the routine. But this? This feels like it could go very differently…
Amid our fear of what’s to come, it’s easy to feel helpless. Like there’s only so much I can do compared to all that pushing against me. All these top-level decisions about military actions and troop movements feel high-up and out of our reach.
But we military spouses are not helpless. We are powerful. And we have an opportunity to make an impact.
One of the most important things we can do as military spouses and family members is to tell our stories, because we know better than most the consequences that wars abroad have here at home.
For us, wars come with missed birthdays and expensive post office receipts. Sleepless nights and meltdowns in the grocery store. Loneliness and emotional homecomings.
People get that war comes with violence. How many movies have been made about the front lines? But what people don’t see is the perpetual anxiety of the families back home, or the single-parenting of the spouse holding it all together. That’s a story that’s missing.
Think about it this way: Our nation’s leaders rely on having the most complete and accurate information at their disposal to make the best decisions possible – right? Well, our lived experiences as military families is part of that. We are the ones who feel the trickle-down effects of decisions to go to war, and our story-telling helps them see the big picture.
So, if you’re looking for a way to channel your frustration and dread into meaningful action, I’ve got the perfect place for you: the Secure Families Initiative.
We are a nonpartisan group of mil spouses who are interested in getting more involved in advocacy around the foreign policy issues that affect us most. I started this program because, personally, I think this kind of stuff is way more fun when you do it as part of a community.
SFI offers trainings for folks who want to get involved, but may not know where to start. We also have opportunities to take direct action if you’re ready and yearning to go! We even offer information about voting – how to register, where to find your polling place, and what candidates/issues will be on your ballot. There’s something for everyone.
Sign up for SFI today and join a tightknit community of mil spouses taking action. It’ll be a great way to ease whatever anxiety you have, and take a bit of control back when it all feels very much out of our control.
Remember: doing something – no matter how small – may feel inconsequential, but when we all work together, we can make a huge impact.
By Sarah Streyder
Director of the Secure Families Initiative